I am proud of the city of South Portland’s commitment to addressing climate change through our climate action plan.

According to a recent U.N. report, we have 12 years to make the significant changes that are required. Turn on a TV and we see extreme flooding and extreme drought across our country. All indications are that it is going to be getting more frequent and more intense. We need to be proactive now and do whtever we can to build our resilience to the impacts of future extreme weather events.

Using chemical (synthetic) fertilizers and chemical pesticides kills the micro-organisms and beneficial insects that naturally aerate and replenish the soil. This causes the soil to become compacted.

Stopping the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides – instead using compost and grass cuttings, while letting grass grow higher – allows roots to grow deeper, pulling carbon out of the atmosphere to store in the soil for use by the plants. It helps retain water in the ground, making our land less vulnerable to flooding and droughts. It also helps prevent erosion with the accompanying runoff into Casco Bay.

Healthy soil is resilient soil. Banning chemical fertilizers as a companion to South Portland’s pesticide-use ordinance, passed in 2016, is crucial in order for us to have healthy soil, a healthy Casco Bay, healthy people and a healthy environment. Then just think what a difference it could make if all the towns and cities surrounding Casco Bay did it together!

Roberta Zuckerman

South Portland